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Aubrey Shives Jr.

1943 - 2011
Aubrey Shives Jr. Obituary
Aubrey Courtney Shives, Jr.


Aubrey Courtney Shives, Jr. passed away April 27, peacefully at home with friends and family watching over him. Courtney spent his final days in the home where he started life in Greenville in 1943, just as he wanted it to be. Courtney loved Greenville, Duke University, good food served well, stimulating conversation, movies with something to say, a long bike ride (made all the better if with friends and uphill with a bakery at the end), and friends and family.

Except for time away for his education at Duke University (BA), University of Colorado (MA), University of Oregon (PhD.) and a few years thereafter teaching at University of Montana, Upper Iowa University, and St. Cloud State University, he always lived in the only place he called home: Greenville.

After his time teaching, he returned to Greenville where he soon found his true calling: restoring and preserving some of Greenville's oldest buildings which he did in partnership with friends and family. It can be said honestly that Courtney brought downtown Greenville's renaissance to fruition when he pioneered mixed-use development of Main Street buildings, first with his 209 N. Main project where he lived for many years. Soon thereafter and in short succession came the Court Square project, Dean Witter building on E. North St., the Cauble Building, and 219 N. Main. His last commercial project was the oldest building he saved, originally the Carolina Supply Co. built in the 1880s on Pendleton St. More recently he was bringing his Greenville home into the 21st century as well as a second home in Durham, NC for which he was recently honored for having done the most to restore the neighborhood with building and landscape improvements.

Courtney was involved not only in building preservation but also in many aspects of making life better in Greenville: in the sister city exchange with Bergamo, Italy; organizing the first Fall for Greenville; bicycle racing in Greenville; parks and open space, especially the North Main park where his involvement saved a creek as the central natural feature of the park, and where he created a memorial garden and outdoor space for environmental education. Courtney also supported the Greenville Symphony, local artists, and the Greenville County Art Museum where a favorite Ansel Adams photograph was a gift of him and his brother.

For the past 10 years Courtney has been deeply involved at Duke University where he has served on the boards of both the Nasher Museum of Art and the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, and he has been an Iron Duke and member of the Founder's Society. But mostly he loved watching Duke Basketball at Cameron Indoor Stadium. His cancer relented just enough to let him experience one last full season without missing a game.

Courtney knew that heaven or hell are what you make of your life on this little planet. Courtney always tried to make a little bit of heaven and did so with the many things and projects which he undertook. He left things better than he found them.

Courtney is survived by his devoted companion, Joyce Murphy, his brother, Fletcher Groce Shives, sister-in-law, Sue McCallister Shives, and their children, Alison Mozelle Shives, and Ian McCallister Shives.

Friends and family are invited to the home at 25 Ashley Ave, 12 Noon, Saturday, 30 April.

Interment will be at the Sarah P. Duke Memorial Garden, Duke University at 10 AM, Monday, 2 May. A simple stone marker will read: "I'd rather be at Cameron . . . ." Please, no flowers - leave them growing in his memory. Memorial contributions may be made to Upstate Forever to support conservation of our special places, the V Foundation to fund cancer research, or the North Main Community Association to support the environmental and social viability of the community.

Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting

Thomas McAfee Funeral Home, Downtown.

Published in The Greenville News from Apr. 28 to Apr. 30, 2011
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